Good question. I’m not a hydrologist, but I know enough to say that land cover changes due to urbanization are a factor here… especially in the sprawling Houston metro area. However, once you dump a foot of rain on an area, none of the water would go into the soil anyway. I will check on this and try to provide an answer regarding the first foot. The other consideration is prior conditions; it’s my understanding that SE Texas had been unusually wet already. That reduced the ability of the soil to absorb water from Harvey, regardless of urbanization.

Written by

A geography professor and meteorologist at UGA in Athens, GA. I write about news, sports, weather, climate, education, journalism, religion, poetry, the South.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store